Although officially a student of Christopher Morris at Cambridge, Stan Lehmberg was really the first Ph.D. of the dean of Tudor historians in the second half of the twentieth century, Sir Geoffrey Elton, if indeed it is not closer to the mark to speak of the two as fellow laborers at that early stage in both their careers. Like Elton, Lehmberg made his mark on Tudor history by importing the methods pioneered by medievalists in the study of English history, replacing the heavy reliance on printed sources characteristic of earlier generations of historians of the sixteenth century, including Elton's teacher Sir John Neale, with the gospel of original documents and their careful exploitation. In part, Lehmberg's and Elton's careers ran parallel in their emphasis on political and administrative history, but in an equally large part they diverged in two significant ways: the importance of ideas and of religion. While Elton was never entirely comfortable in – or persuaded of the centrality of – either domain, not even in the case of his hero Thomas Cromwell, Lehmberg made them both very much his own.
This process began with Lehmberg's first book on Sir Thomas Elyot, best known for his Book named the governor, which Lehmberg edited at the same time for Everyman. In the early sixties, it was daring to work on Elyot, in part because Pearl Hogrefe had already laid claim to him, in part because intellectual history was fading fast.